Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Just Jack" is One Week Old

*The nickname "Just Jack" comes from Max. We would jokingly call Jack other names when I was still pregnant and Max would go, "NOOOOOO, just Jack!" It also works because with both Max and Jack, everyone is constantly asking if they are short for something and I say "No, just Max" or "No, just Jack."

Jack is one week old today! I'm under no illusions that I'll be able to keep up with the same amount of blog documentation that I did for Max, but I figure I'll at least start out the same while I have a baby that sleeps a lot during the day and a toddler at school. Plus, Jack has had an eventful first week of life!

Just after birth, the nurse called in the doctors because Jack's cry wasn't very impressive and he was "floppy." They hooked him up to some oxygen, and tried removing it 15 minutes later but he was still making a grunting noise so off to the NICU he was sent. I had to stay in my delivery room for a bit, but my amazing nurse (Rachel) brought me down to see him on the way to my postpartum room. I was super overwhelmed from my long and exhausting labor, the NICU was SOOO hot, and I was just not even sure what was actually going on with him. I remember knowing he would be okay, but being confused and overwhelmed about what was actually happening.

On his first night, he had visits from grandparents and aunts and uncles but no one could hold him yet. Luckily the next morning (after 15 hours) he was off the oxygen and I could go downstairs and try to feed him. At this point his breathing was okay, but they were watching his sugar and supplementing him with donor breast milk. 

Later on his second day of life, Jack was able to come up to our room and we were together, optimistic that the challenges were behind us. Sadly, the next morning we received the news that his jaundice levels were borderline so we had to stay in the hospital one extra day so he could go under the lights. I have to admit I was more annoyed about this than concerned because we wanted to be home on Thanksgiving. Plus, Max also had borderline jaundice levels and never needed the lights so... I was ready to be home! 
That night Eric went home to be with Max, so I focused on force feeding Jack so that he would poop out that bilirubin which worked and he was allowed to finally come home on Friday afternoon! 

Since being home, Jack has been hanging out with his big brother Max, mom and dad, grandparents and aunts and uncles. 

Jack at One Week

Looks Like: 

Likes: being warm and cuddled up, sleeping during the day, eating

Dislikes: being cold, getting his hands in the way of eating, safe sleeping surfaces (he doesn't like being all the way on his back and without blankets), hiccups, the goggles he had to wear under the lights

Feeding: every 2-3 hours

Sleeping: a lot but slightly more during the day :) at night he usually has a period of time where he is up a lot and then one longer stretch, no real rhyme or reason to it yet

Big Brother Max Update: 

Max is doing pretty well so far. There are definitely small ways we notice his transition. For example, after the long separation of being at the hospital, Max seems a little more concerned about me leaving the room than usual. For example, he doesn't want me to nap while he is awake and if I do, he wants to come nap with me. On Saturday, he actually stayed silently in bed with me for almost 45 minutes. It was impressive. 

As for his opinion about Jack, I'd say he is more interested in him now than he ever was in talking about him before he came. He asks where he is in the morning and comments when he hears Jack cry usually speculating what Jack wants, "maybe Jack wants..." Some of his good quotes so far have been: 

Caroline: Jack wants to play with you
Max: Okay, let's play chase!
Me: Well Jack can't walk yet
Max: I want Jack to walk! 

Nana: Let me just give Jack to Dada
Max: Okay, Dada, catch him! 

It's definitely exhausting trying to keep Max on his normal schedule and give him as much attention as possible but I think the effort is worth it so far! I'm sure it will get harder when Jack is awake more during the day and when Eric is back at work. 

Next up on the blog will be Jack's Birth Story! It can be summarized as: completely different than Max's Birth Story, ha ha! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Max at 2.5 Years!

On July 17th Max hit the official 2 ½ year old mark. He is 34 ½ inches and 28 ½ lbs, still hovering around the 50th% percentile for weight and 25th% for height. He is large part most adorable, loving boy in the world and small part biggest devil there is...depends on the day, or the minute, or sometimes even the second. These days he says “please” and “thank you” and “You okay, Mama?” but his most favorite word is “No” and sometimes even “Na na na na na na na NO.”

My favorite part of our days right now are the book reading times before nap and bedtime. He gets to pick out two stories and gets stuck in his favorites for days and sometimes weeks at a time. Right now his favorites at the Cape are, “Blue Hat, Green Hat” and “Ernie’s Big Mess” and some counting books where you lift the flap to see how many. At home, he loves “Lllama Llama Red Pajama” (which he calls “Llama Llama the funny book!”) and his large collection of books about trucks. After we read the two books that he sometimes pushes to three or four, he gives us kisses and hugs. He still has not mastered the art of how to kiss but I’m hoping he never does because right now he says “MUUUUWAHHH” and calls that a kiss. These kisses and hugs are followed by a series of “Love you Mama!” and “Love you Dada!” and “See you when the light turns green!” It’s pretty adorable and I hope I never forget it. In the last week or two he has started to delay nap and bedtime and wake up sometimes at night. We are hoping this is a short lived phase even though he does say pretty funny things when he calls us back!

Max also talks nonstop from the minute he wakes up until he goes to bed. On our trip to Cincinnati he had some funny quotes. First, there was a little glitch with the car seat installation and Max’s seat literally fell over and all we heard from Max was, “uh oh, my car seat broked!” Later he spilled water on me and then asked, “why did you spill water on yourself?!” Finally, he showed his summer attachment to us when we were trying to talk to him about his friends at school and we said, “who are your best friends?” and he said, “Mama and Dada!”

His favorite phrases are:
“We need a problem” (he actually means “we need a plan” but it’s so much funnier)
“Yea, but…”
“Don’t say funny!” (this is when we laugh at him)
“It don’t can’t drive!”
“That’s what I said!” or “That’s what I did!” (he says this after he says or does something, ha ha)
“I want to eat breakfast!” (said at any time of the day, he is convinced this is the only meal)
“Hey Mamma and Dada, how’s it going? It’s going good. How’s it going with you?” (yes, he says the whole part)

Late this spring into the summer his biggest challenge was transition. Almost any time we left the house was a battle even with routine and warnings and even when it was something he LOVES doing. Some days were worse than others, but it was not unusual for it to take us 30 minutes or more to actually leave the house, with more than a few tears (sometimes even mine). I tried many things including making him a visual schedule for his morning routine on school days. It seems to be improving a lot now that we close in on the end of the summer so I guess like everything in parenting, it was nothing at all that I did and instead was just another phase that had to be endured. Now that we’ve entered this bedtime and middle of the night challenge, I’m finding myself missing the difficulty getting out the door if that’s the trade off!

The other big challenge was our little runner. To all the parents out who are smug about parents who use leashes or any other form of keeping their child safe in public, I wish upon you a sprinter like I have. Without any warning at all, Max will just SPRINT away from us with only a quick glance back. Like the transitions, this seems to be improving. He will still run away, but he now looks back and will sometimes stop if no one is following him. Of course this is a dangerous game at times because while not following him, we are letting him get far away, but there is only so much you can do.

Along with some of the challenges, there have been so many great things about Max this summer and getting to spend so much time with him. He is really starting to enjoy some of our outings. I took him twice this summer to a children’s museum in a nearby town and he was completely obsessed with a ball and ramp room. The second time we went, we visited the outdoor discovery playground part and the science museum. I thought the science museum would be over his head but he found more interesting balls to play with there so he didn’t want to leave! Like last summer he continues to LOVE splash parks and pools. This summer his puddle jumper life jacket really holds him up so he’s been able to be more independent in the water which he loves. Yesterday we visited a splash park that had a bubble machine so he would get himself covered with bubbles and then run happily to the sprinkler part to get them all off.

There are even more things Max loves besides outings and books. He also loves animals, including the elephants at the zoo and the chickens at the farm. We saw a rooster and he was trying to have a conversation with it, "chicken! you make that noise again?" Max continues to love his toys, especially any car or truck and he probably owns more than the average child. He likes to count them and invent different games with them, usually involving one of the cars having a flat tire. You can probably imagine his excitement back in June when I actually got a real flat tire and it was the best day of Max's life thus far, followed closely by the day I needed an oil change. Ha.

It's so much fun to watch him grow and change. I love him more than I can possibly put into words and most of the time I really like him too! It's hard to believe we will be starting back again in a few months with a new little guy. We are hopeful Max will be a great big brother! Even if right now he does ignore us when we talk about the baby...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pregnancy the Second Time Around

When I was pregnant with Max I tried to do about weekly updates throughout. I know I don’t have that much to say this time, but I figured I’d check in at least once so I can document how pregnancy number two is going. Ironically, I think I’m probably the one most looking back at those old posts wondering how I felt last time and what is coming up!

In case you don’t feel like going back to 2013 and reading all those weekly updates, I’ll sum them up for you. Trimester 1- I feel like crap and I hate being pregnant. Trimester 2- I am still not a fan but at least I don’t feel terrible. Prenatal yoga and maternity clothes are good. Trimester 3- My  liver decides it ALSO hates being pregnant and starts trying to attack both Max and me. While I dip my feet in ice to try to keep myself from itching them off, Max decides to GET OUT almost 4 weeks early. Smart kid, I tell you.

This pregnancy has been similar so far regarding how I feel. I found out I was pregnant earlier this time, but right on schedule at about Week 6 the nausea started. I’d say it was pretty comparable to how I felt last time, but instead of backpacking around Europe, this time I was teaching kindergarten, managing a two year AND moving… all great things to do when you don’t feel well. But honestly, being busy helped a lot and gave me less time to think about not feeling well. I started to feel better around Week 14ish.

I also shared my news a little earlier this time because I’m not as concerned about work, so it got me through that last week or two of feeling bad because I was telling people, which is always fun. One of the highlights of this pregnancy so far was telling my kindergarten students. I decided it would be fun to tell them on the last day of school with a “Hangman” game. When they finally figured out that I wrote, “Max is going to be a big brother!” they were SO excited. I didn’t expect them to get it right away, but they were immediately giving me name ideas (Rocky, anyone?). This time I’ll be sharing it with my new class in my summer letter which I’m sure won’t be the most welcome news for them but I’m hoping for a similar experience to last time where everyone was incredibly supportive.

Also in Week 14 I found out I’m having another BOY, which also set up the excitement of Max getting a little brother that I hope he will LOVE just as much as we will. I love the process of getting to know this little guy inside me. Just like Max, he loves to kick at night and moves around a lot. Unlike Max though, he was not a big vacation fan. With Max I always felt better on days I didn’t have to work, but with Baby #2 I always felt better at work. Future workalcoholic in the making? It’s fun to speculate about what he will be like, and if he’ll have anything at all in common with Max or if they will be nothing alike.

As for me, I’m nesting a little more this time. I think I had a pretty realistic picture of how hard it was going to be to have a baby before Max, but this time I have not just a realistic but a very clear, practical understanding. I realize I won’t be doing a lot of working out, so I’m trying to squeeze in all the swims, prenatal yoga, walks and lifts I can do. I know I won’t be on my computer much at all, so I’m trying to get all my photos backed up and organized (by year, nothing ambitious). I’m hoping to sell or give away baby clothes as soon as #2 grows out of them, so I’m trying to get things organized and sell and give away other items before I’m worrying about baby stuff. I know I’ll need all the money I can get when I have two kids, so I’m taking 2 classes this summer to get my Masters +30 credits salary raise. I remember CLEARLY how freaking difficult it is to leave a newborn and pump in the car and bathrooms and God only knows where else (but how necessary at the same time), so I’m trying to soak in as many date nights as possible now. I know I’ll soon have a crying baby so I’m really enjoying the interrupted times of reading Max books, playing trucks with him and just cuddling up with only one baby on the couch.

The biggest differences so far in this pregnancy have been a bump popping out WAY earlier this time, yikes! I had to break out my dresses that I used to hide it last time in Week 17-18 and use them at Week 8, not exaggerating! My attitude has also been different. I know how quickly this time will pass (though it NEVER feels like it at the time) so I've tried harder to enjoy the positive and dismiss the negative. I have not done a perfect job, but I've done better.

So yea… I have all the normal fears about number 2 and how he will systematically ruin our lives ha ha. But I’m mostly just grateful to be here with my little family and have such wonderful supportive people around us. On a less fun note, I will likely have liver problems again which is why I’m saying my due date is “somewhere in November or December” (really December 12th). At this point I’m just hoping it delays as long as possible!

Just for fun, though I know you can't really see the bumps! The top photo is at the Cape Week 18, Pregnancy Two. The bottom photo is in Austria Week 9 (ish), Pregnancy One. Same bathing suit, ha!

Monday, July 11, 2016

6 Years

Hello all! I'm testing out blogging from my new Chromebook. Last week my beloved Mac died after only 4 years and they estimated me at $400 to fix it. Since I have Backblaze that automatically backs up all my data, I decided not to fix it and to get a Chromebook for $158 including taxes. I've been using google for more and more at both home and work, so I figured I was up for the challenge. So far I'm loving it! I do think my photos are going to be a little smaller though, since I can't do Mars Edit anymore. Since I have a couple of things I want to blog about in the upcoming weeks I figured I'd test out a post with a few photos. 

Yesterday was Eric and my 6 Year Anniversary! <3 div="">

I was another good and busy year in our lives, but probably nothing compared to the year ahead... I'm a little scared! Last night we went out to eat at our favorite Cape Cod restaurant, where we also had our rehearsal dinner 6 years plus a few days ago. 
It was fun to enjoy a leisurely dinner without worrying about whether Max was going to decide he was "all done" after 5 minutes. Thanks to my parents for babysitting :) 

I will hopefully be back soon for a 2.5 year post for Max and maybe at least one pregnancy update. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Max: Two Years Old

Max turned two in January and it’s now April, but I can’t let this time pass without posting about what he has been up to lately. 

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Max talks constantly these days, and I guess the novelty hasn’t worn off because I could listen to him all day. He is hilarious. He loves to ask questions, “What’s this?” “How did THIS get here?” “Where is my truck?” Also, he is a toddler, so he enjoys saying what he wants, “I wanna watch BLAZE!” “I want cheese crackers!” and what he doesn’t like “I don’t like that.” He also likes saying “I’ll show ya!” I also love his expressions, he says “OooooH NO!” and “Oh BA- Goodness!” and “That’s CRAAAAAZY!"

His new thing is, he sets up all of his trucks to watch his favorite truck show (Blaze and the Monster Machines) on the iPad. Then he says, “Fire truck, this is Blaze” “Blaze, this is fire truck” like he’s introducing them. 

He also has full conversations with me about what he did at school that day, what he wants to do, people he knows, books he has read, etc. It’s crazy to think just a few months ago when I wanted to keep him awake in the car, I’d have ask what noises animals make to keep him talking. Now, we can talk about so many things. A few weeks ago we took him and my friend’s daughter to a farm to see baby pigs (and other animals). Max loved them but he kept talking about how the “Mama pig is SAD!” I told him, she’s not sad, just tired and I swear since then he’s been using the word tired when he first wakes up, ha ha. 

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Max loves to play with his toys. This winter was infinitely easier than last winter, and it wasn’t just that the weather was better (though it was!) Max was also totally fine with playing inside this winter. He loves to play with his many trucks: fire trucks, cement trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks and more. He also enjoys his train and play kitchen. Lately he likes to cook Eric and I soup and ice cream, both of which he cooks in his play microwave. He went through a phase where he would constantly leave his real milk in his play fridge. We usually found it and by some miracle when he found it, he would always say “old milk!” and give it to me. 

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He plays by himself sometimes, but he also enjoys playing with us. He enjoys having us build towers for him (especially with some cool foam blocks my mom got), then he counts them (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12…) and then he knocks them over. He also loves a game called “Seeka Boo” that one of Eric’s friends got for him for his birthday. It’s similar to memory but a little bit simplified. 

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I’ve probably said this in every post since like 6 months, but Max still LOVES books. He has a ton of books memorized and can read them on his own, but he mostly likes when we read them and leave out words that he can fill in. His current favorite books are: Pete the Cat, The Truck is Stuck, It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? Curious George books and all the Llama Llama books… he also loves a book about a fire station that we got at a random bookstore in Portsmouth NH. Winn 160218 3198Winn 160214 2953

It’s funny to read back to some of his month updates because I mentioned more than once that he would eat anything. That is definitely no longer. He favorite things to eat are “MILK AND BAR!” Bar, being those Trader Joe’s “fruit” bars. He will occasionally eat what we are having for dinner if all veggies can be picked out, that is. Otherwise, he mostly like snack type foods: cheddar bunnies, graham crackers, nuts, etc. Fortunately, he will eat both peanut butter and sunflower butter (for school because they can’t have nuts) sandwiches so he eats those a lot. I’ve calmed down a lot about his absurd eating, and realized that if that’s the only negative thing I ever hear from school “he didn’t really eat any of his lunch today”- that’s not so bad! 

Fortunately, his sleep is better than his eating these days. He went through a very rough sleep patch around November/December. He learned how to climb out of his crib, I’m not sure how. But the first time, he climbed out, grabbed a book, knocked on our door at 3AM and said, “READ IT!” Once that child is up, getting him back to sleep is near impossible. Luckily, after a few week freak out and terrible sleep, I ignored all the advice about keeping kids in the crib as long as possible and listened to my best friend who told me take off the side of the crib and put a gate up. Yes, re-sleep training on Christmas Eve was not fun, but it has led to much better sleep ever since. Honorable mention goes to the amazing toddler sleep clock. Max is very serious about sleeping when the light is red and “WAKE UP!” when the light is green. 

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Max continues to go to “school” while we are at work. He loves it and does really well there. His favorite activities are listening to books and playing with all the many cars and trucks that the school has. Max also really likes painting which they do a lot. He loves to say, “I paint it!!!” They tell me after the summer he will officially be in “preschool” (still in the same school, just a different classroom). I can’t believe it! 

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He still changes so much every day, so I hope I can remember to update before he’s 3 this time, ha ha!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in Review

Happy 2016 friends! I didn’t blog much in 2015, but here is what I was up to instead: 


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Rang in the New Year in Florida. Celebrated Max’s first birthday! Attempted but failed at a Mile a Day challenge. Got sick a lot. Tried to study for a work related test by waking up early but ultimately had my mother in law watch Max and crammed as much as I could. 


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Took the work test and I passed, wahoo! Super fun trip to Savannah Georgia! Had one million snow days. Went a little bit crazy. 


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Visited the Cape with our BFF family. Celebrated 10 years of togetherness (Eric and I) in Portland, Maine. Tried to pretend the snow was gone. Somewhere around this month (maybe it was February? Or April?) I started working out with Eric 2x per week and kept it up all year, wahoo!


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Returned the park. Spent a lot of time at all parks. Stopped nursing Max after 15 months! Watched my sister and college roommate run the marathon! Spent April vacation at the Cape. Met Baby Katherine my best friend’s second baby. Max learned how to give hugs. 


Ate dinner at Flatbread with friends and 3 kids. Took the train to Boston Common. Visited Uncle Jake’s apartment in Boston. Celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday!


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Celebrated Eric’s grandmother’s 90th birthday! Celebrated my 31st birthday. Saw Tim McGraw in concert. Eric and I traveled to Washington and Oregon, and Max stayed at the Cape for the week. Met long time blog/teacher friend in Portland. 


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Walked to the jetty almost nightly. Went to Max’s first outdoor concert with friends. Rode on merry go rounds. Celebrated my mom’s birthday at a beach bar. Visited the zoo. Rode on a boat or two. 


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Soaked up time together. Had lots of play dates. Walked on the beach. Bought my own paddle board. Tried to avoid the August breakdown. 


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Max started school! Danced at another wedding. Took lots of walks. Disliked the beginning of the year with K kids. Looked forward to December vacation...


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Went to Maine for a family trip. Celebrated a college friend’s bachelorette party! Tailgated the BC football game. Visited the real llama at the farm. Saw Lisa!


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Threw a surprise party for my mother in law. Served Max mac and cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. Max had multiple ear infections among other sicknesses. Max climbed out of the crib at 3am and knocked on our bedroom door. 

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Got a 5 day fever. Read a lot of books. Took Max to visit Elmo and Santa. Attended a wedding at Boston Public Library. Santa came! Took the side off Max’s crib. Enjoyed vacation at the Cape. 

To sum up: A tiny bit easier and a lot less eventful than last year. Lots of wine and beer. Way too much sickness. A lovely family and wonderful friends. Very grateful. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kelly's 2015 Book Recommendations

*Sorry for the hiatus. It was part technical difficulties and part lack of time. I’ll be back at least once more this week to do a Max update. After that, who can really be sure :) 

I haven’t been able to totally interest myself in book podcasts, but I do love the book recommendation ones so this year I’m going to try to do my own book recommendations. Of course I don’t have people writing to me asking what I would recommend for so and so, but we can pretend. These are based on books I read in 2015 only. Lots of good ones to choose from!

Sorry in advance for the weird sizing of the books. 

If you are in the mood for something different...

Books2015and Hyperbole2

A story told through poetry and a comic series, these two have nothing in common with each other and are unlike the books that most people I know read. Despite how different they are, and maybe because they are so different, I recommend both of them. 

If you want to read nonfiction that reads like fiction...

Books2015 7

Eric reads nonfiction before bed because it won’t suck him in and keep him awake. But this one will. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

If you like to read...

Books2015 11

Seriously, this book is for everyone. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like it. It’s got comedy, adventure, science and so much more. Some parts do get a bit technical, but I promise it won’t ruin the story if you just skim those. 

If you love historical fiction...

Books2015 6

Which I think is everyone I know who reads. Ha. 

If you want a young adult book with a unique love story and a taste of the immigrant experience...

Books2015 9

You’ll never learn what it’s like to be an immigrant from a book, but this will give you a glimpse. It will also invite you into a young love story that differs from the typical one quite a bit. I read this book in about two days while sick, so I think it’s a quick but really good read. 

If you have ever dreamed about living on a summer island in the offseason, or enjoy stories about people starting over...

Books2015 4

While Still Alice is my favorite Lisa Genova book, I learned to love some of her other books this year. I’d definitely recommend this one along with Inside the O’Briens.

If you like psychological thrillers/ being kind of freaked out.


I feel like these type of books are in right now… Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, etc. These two were both good but less popular. 

If you are planning a trip to Savannah...


I know, you probably aren’t, but you should. It’s a beautiful, small southern city. They have amazing food, tons of history and things to do, and most importantly you can order a drink at a bar and take it out on the street to enjoy their beautiful warm weather. While you are there, read this amazing book and then have fun walking by all the places you are reading about. 

If you want a quick-read, page-turner...


This book was recommended to me by a friend at work and I got it for free on my Kindle. The perfect book for reading in one weekend or on a plane ride. 

Let me know if you try any of these books and leave me a recommendation in the comments!